Exploring the role of consumer health informatics

Research news
04 April 2016
A new book reveals how technology can engage patients in their own health and medical care.

Healthcare technology brings to mind cutting edge equipment and beeping machines, but technology in healthcare can also be used to empower patients to be part of their own recovery.

“Contemporary consumer health informatics,” co-edited by Deakin’s Nilmini Wickramasinghe, Professor of Health Informatics Management at Burwood, takes a socio-technical perspective and examines the underlying people, process and technology perspectives of what has come to be known as consumer health informatics (CHI).

"Health informatics involves using technology solutions, including mobile, tablets and PCs, to facilitate superior health care delivery and more patient-focussed care," explained Professor Wickramasinghe.

"This book helps those involved in healthcare, including academics, technology specialists, practitioners and patients, to fully understand the impacts of the tools, techniques, technologies and tactics of today’s information age on healthcare delivery."

Professor Wickramasinghe said patient-focussed care is a vital factor of CHI.

"It enables patients to be empowered in their own medical care and health management," she said.

"Patients and consumers need to understand the depth and breadth of the technology available and say, 'Yes, I would like to engage and be able to access my data,' so that they can have a better understanding of their treatment and effect better wellness and health maintenance strategies.

"It makes for happier patients, who are more engaged and motivated to help in their own care, rather than sitting back and being told what to do by the health professionals.

"Clinicians also need to understand the technology that is available to help them deliver optimal health care and empower their patients," she said.

“Contemporary Consumer Health Informatics” is the sixth book in the “Healthcare Delivery in the Information Age” series, of which Professor Wickramasinghe is series editor, and the first to be published since she joined Deakin in 2015.

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Deakin Professor of Health Informatics Management, Nilmini Wickramasinghe. Deakin Professor of Health Informatics Management, Nilmini Wickramasinghe.

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